- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia’s largest operator of movie theaters says it has decided not to screen a film about the love affair between Russia’s last czar and a ballerina because of safety concerns in the wake of arson attacks.

The film, “Matilda,” has drawn harsh criticism from hard-line nationalists and some Russian Orthodox believers. The Russian Orthodox Church venerates Czar Nicholas II as a saint.

Russian news agencies quoted cinema chain director Roman Linin saying in announcing the decision: “The security of our viewers remains a priority for us.” The chain operated by Formula Kino and Cinema Park theaters has 75 theaters.

The announcement came one day after two cars were set on fire outside the office of the attorney for director Alexei Uchitel. In August, assailants tried to set fire to Uchitel’s studio.

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